from the future-plan:-why-not-both? dept.
(Reuters) - AT&T Inc T.N is considering offering wireless phone plans partially subsidized by advertising as soon as a year from now, Chief Executive John Stankey said in an interview on Tuesday.
[...] The consideration, which has not been previously disclosed, underscores AT&T's commitment to the advertising business as the U.S. phone carrier reviews its portfolio to identify assets to sell in order to reduce its debt load. AT&T is considering selling its advertising-technology unit Xandr, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.
"I believe there's a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill," Stankey said.
Various companies including Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O, Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint's Boost Mobile have tested advertising supported phone services since the early 2000s but they have not caught on. AT&T is hoping that better advertising targeting could revive the idea.
The planned launch of an ad-supported version of AT&T's video-streaming service HBO Max next year will serve as a "foundational element" that will provide new advertising inventory, and would be key to new phone plans supported by ads, Stankey said without offering details.
[...] AT&T engineers are creating "unified customer identifiers," Stankey said. Such technology would allow marketers to identify users across multiple devices and serve them relevant advertising.